Teaching to Transgress

PDF EBook by Bell Hooks

EBook Description

Teaching to Transgress is probably a book every person in a putative position of authority should read – not just teachers, but parents, coaches, community leaders etc. Teaching to Transgress PDF EBook It’s accessible, passionate, quick to read, and offers a refreshing conception of education as something that’s not politically neutral and shouldn’t be about gaining marketable skills to get a job. I loved hooks’ distinction between the feminist classroom and the Women’s Studies classroom, her approach that calls for equalizing (neutralizing?) power relations between student and teacher, and her rejection of the banking approach to learning.These ideas weren’t new to me, but I appreciate how straightforwardly they were presented, and I'm glad I've read it.

Because I appreciate and agree with hooks’ general approach, my disappointment and frustration with some of her expectations and methods, particularly around her desire to erase the separation between public and private and to always bring the body into the classroom, is especially disheartening. There’s surely some very legitimate criticism about people who claim to hold certain political positions but don’t actually put them into practice on a daily basis, which is something I and everyone I know struggles with, and is most likely also the case with overworked and underappreciated teachers.But hooks isn’t only writing about being politically consistent; download; she’s calling for the annihilation of personal boundaries in order to attain some kind of “self- PDFactualization” and heal what she perceives to be the “mind/body/spirit” split of the wounded educator.Early in the book she states that she expects her students to take the risk of “confessing” personal narratives to their classmates in order to stay registered in her courses. This is basically my worst nightmare; I have a hard enough time being forthcoming with my doctors to say nothing of recounting to a room full of strangers sensitive, potentially traumatic details when there’s no guarantee that they'll be received well or even stay within the walls of the classroom. This anxiety and pain is necessary, according to hooks, in order to heal and to learn.Perhaps I’m too jaded and suspicious of the purity of others’ intentions but I’d never willingly put myself in a situation that could have direct and long-lasting negative effects on a number of areas of my life. My own experience, which hooks theoretically privileges, tells me that’s not a good idea and yet she doesn’t allow for principled opposition to that kind of mandatory disclosure; I'd be a "resisting" student to her.

My other major cause for pause is with how hooks suggests teachers execute this approach to education, insofar as she assumes visibility is something that’s always desirable.I can see how this could be true in many, perhaps even most cases, and it’s something I try to keep an eye on in my own tutorials (especially when the professor assigns 80 pages of reading but specifically excludes the two pages on race and sex – true story), but I’m unconvinced that it’s a uniformly good thing.To take an example from my own education, the best experience of my entire undergraduate tenure was a course on the philosophy of science taught by a man who was obsessed with Plato’s cave allegory and Eric Voegelin, and as disdainful of absolutist empiricism as he was of postmodern relativism.Twice a week, first thing in the morning, he lectured for the full 75 minutes and never deliberately encouraged student participation.Hooks would, I suspect, consider this a travesty – and yet I learned more about myself – my ethics, my place, my identity, my contradictions, my hypocrisy, my fears, my passions – sitting there and listening to someone who I’m sure would be horrified by my leftism, among other things, but who made epistemology and ontology utterly fascinating.Because I know he wouldn’t call on me, because I knew he didn’t even know my name until the end of the first term, I was able to sit there and absorb, reflect on, assess and critique everything he said on my own terms and without feeling on display.

Now, I’m perfectly willing to admit that a lot of these criticisms are about individual learning style and my own solitary nature, but my point remains: I’ve spent many classes (including a number of ostensibly feminist Women’s Studies classes) in profound states of discomfort because of being/feeling on display, and these were terrible experiences, hardly liberatory.Particularly in the last 18 months where I’ve completely changed my area of study, school has become a place for me to escape my body – and by this I don’t mean ignoring my race, sex, class, citizenship, ability etc., but rather that thinking about subjects other than my self and my body all the time has allowed me to become a much healthier, happier, balanced and indeed freer person. Obviously my experiences aren’t the same as those of most of hooks’ students and perhaps I shouldn’t be assuming that her particular model of anti-oppressive pedagogy extends as far as I’m trying to pull it – but I also don’t think she’d be opposed to me trying to do so.

I guess my issues with Teaching to Transgress are more about personal style than political positions, and I still think the book is worth reading even if I can’t for the life of me imagine a situation where it would be appropriate to ask my students about their personal experiences with capitalism and the formation of the bureaucratic state, or for a student to start to dance with me to apologize for coming in late (“I remember the day he came to class late and came right up to the front, picked me up and whirled me around. The class laughed. I called him ‘fool’ and laughed. It was by way of apologizing for being late, for missing any moment of classroom passion. And so he brought his own moment. I, too, love to dance. And so we danced our way into the future as comrades and friends bound by all we had learned.”).I’ll heed hooks’ own advice to take the good (her general point), discard the bad (the new age flightiness) and leave it at that. Like this book? Read online this: Latitude Hooks and Azimuth Rings, Teaching Outside the Box.

Teaching to Transgress PDF download

Select filetype to download Teaching to Transgress: